Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year Everyone....

Hey all:

I just wanted to take some time to thank you for your loyal readership of TLR. We celebrated 8 years in 2013...

I had the pleasure of chatting with writer/director Elias about his film Gut not once but twice... The trend of chatting with indie filmmakers will continue with Under the Dark Wing's Christopher Di Nunzio Still Life's Chris Esper and actor David Graziano (who appeared in both "Wing" and "Life" by the way) on tap for early 2014.

 Nobody Gets Out Alive director Jason Christopher took the plunge and moved out to Cali

Look for coverage on comic book film sequels Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and X-Men: Days of Future Past among other big films due out next year...


In the meantime follow me @TheLastReel on Twitter and join the Facebook page.

Thank you all so very much for the support! It means a lot! Party smart as 2014 arrives and may the movie gods smile upon you and yours...

Monday, December 30, 2013

New Photos: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Empire's latest issue boasts a cover story about the superhero sequel "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and with that comes a set of fresh movie stills...

The story follows the acclaimed comic storyline The Winter Soldier by author Ed Brubaker, who along with artist Steve Epting, in which Captain America's (Chris Evans) sidekick Bucky (Sebastian Stan) is resurrected as a brainwashed super-assassin known as the Winter Solider. The tale also follows that Peggy's (played by Hayley Atwell in Captain America: The First Avenger) niece Sharon (Revenge star Emily VanCamp) meets Cap.

Stan looks soooo super-bad ass as The Winter Solider--I just may find myself rooting for him to win as he goes head to head with Cap.






Anthony Mackie is poised to play Harlem crime fighter Falcon. Cobie Smulders will reprise her role of Maria Hill. She joins her boss in The Avengers co-star Samuel L. Jackson  and Scarlett Johansson. for the film. Frank Grillo ("The Grey," "Warrior") will play the villain Crossbones in the sequel. Toby Jones, has confirmed to Hey U Guys that he will reprise the role of the villain Armin Zola. Maximiliano Hernández said via Twitter that he will reprise his "Avengers" role of Agent Jasper Sitwell in the sequel. Robert Redford (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) has entered talks for a senior leadership role in S.H.I.E.L.D. UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre will play villain Batroc the Leaper, an infamous mercenary in the Cap mythology.


Joe Russo and Anthony Russo are directing the sequel, using a script by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.

"Captain America 2" launches first in the UK and parts of Europe on March 26th ahead of a major global release (including the U.S.) the following week on April 3rd & 4th.

Jason Chistopher's Best Films Of 2013


Nobody Gets Out Alive director Jason Christopher returns to share his list of The Best Movies of 2013:

1. Spring Breakers
2. The World's End
3. Prisoners
4. The Dirties 
5. Evil Dead (remake)
6. Gravity
7. The Conjuring
10.  Blackfish 
11. This Is the End
12. Fruitvale Station
13. Sound City 
14. The Wolf of Wall Street
15.  Contracted 

-Jay

What do you think kids? Agree? Disagree with the list?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Special Guest Review Of "The Wolf Of Wall Street"

Now that you have read my review of Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street" it's time for another perspective on the film from a member of my valued "Movie Posse" Michael DiFrancesco. He has an open invitation to post on TLR anytime that he wants to. I did not expect a review from "Surfer Boy" this time out, since he was not feeling all that great when we made our way to the cineplex....Thanks for taking the time Mike...

Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio (Jordan Belfort) team up for their 5th movie together to create an unforgettable, fast moving, roller coaster ride of a movie that has you on the edge of your seat, but also scratching your head.

The movie is aptly named due to its true disguise of what the film actually wanted to achieve. Just as in little red riding hood, this movie dresses up like
Boiler Room, but is really Blow in disguise. With his best performance to date, Jonah Hill (Donnie Azoff) plays Jordan’s best friend and business partner--Sealing the bond that this movie needed to somewhat keep the train on the tracks. Littered with hilarious side scenes and moments, I thought at first that Wolf of Wall Street lacked an identity and a focus. But upon further reflection , it was exactly what it should’ve been. Jordan Belfort, just like the movie, lacked an identity and a true focus other than drugs and sex. So in reality, Scorsese did a magnificent job and capturing Jordan Belfort’s upward rise, and downward spiral.



Fantastic cinematography and a very well written script (Terence Winter) add to the movie. DiCaprio is strongest when he is motivating and selling, which Belfort did extraordinary well. 


What the film lacked, it made up for with passion. Every actor and actress in the film knew they’re role, believed it, and captured what the non-traditional stockbroker was. The message of the film gets skewed not because of the story, but because of the glass from which is it viewed from. Many people will see and respond to this movie differently, and it is because the film leaves that interpretation up to you. It doesn’t give you a personal connection with any of the characters except for Belfort, who resembles your stomach on a rough boat ride.

In summary the film gives you a glimpse of greatness, but it is covered up, or snorted away by excessive drug use and sex, which leads to its unnecessarily long run time. While it is not one of Leo’s best acting performances, it is still a memorable one in which I recommend. Jonah Hill continues his campaign to become a serious actor, specifically an incredible supporting actor, and not just a guy who came up in Seth Rogan films. And Scorsese puts another notch in his belt of films that will undoubtedly make a splash in the box office.


It isn’t The Departed, and rightfully so, because it isn’t trying to be the Departed. If it were, it would’ve been a movie about a man who lost his blue chip stockbroker job and searched his entire life to get back to selling blue chip stocks. Instead it is about a man who lost his blue chip stock selling job, and built something out of nothing, with a group of nobody’s looking for an opportunity, and in the process threw his life away for the addiction of fame and fortune.

Holiday Box Office Update: Boon Or Bust

The last weekend of 2013 was an interesting one at the box office with Peter Jackson's second chapter in the film trilogy The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and Disney's latest animated film Frozen taking down everyone else.



Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street" (My review) gets edged out by 's American Hustle Remake The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and the comedy Grudge Match  fail to impress. The concert doc Justin Bieber's Believe bombs big time as does ' 47 Ronin with Universal already writing the film off as a loss



Thanks to a strong Christmas, Hollywood is safe to begin celebrating a record year at the North American box office. With two days left to go, revenue will match 2012's record $10.8 billion sometime on Sunday, putting the final tally for the year in the $10.9 billion range.

Dominating the final weekend were a trio of all-audience offerings: Warner Bros.' The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Disney's runaway family hit Frozen and Will Ferrell comedy Anchorman: The Legend Continues. The three holdovers beat out six new films opening nationwide on Christmas day, including three that quickly bombed -- Universal's pricey 47 Ronin, WB's Sylvester Stallone-Robert De Niro comedy Grudge Match and Justin Bieber documentary Believe.

As expected, Desolation of Smaug placed No. 1 for the third weekend in a row with $29.9 million, pushing its domestic total to $190.3 million.

Disney's unstoppable Frozen wasn't far behind in grossing $28.8 million -- the second best showing of all time for a film in its sixth weekend after Avatar ($34.9 million) and besting Titanic ($25.2 million).

The animated tentpole has now earned $248.3 million in North America, pointing to the immense staying power a family film can enjoy and becoming Disney's most successful title domestically after The Lion King. It also underscores a dearth of family product (Walking With Dinosaurs was the only new family offering of the Christmas season, but it quickly became extinct, earning just $20.8 million to date).

Paramount's Anchorman 2 took in $20.2 million in its second weekend for a domestic total of $83.7 million, just shy of the $85.3 million earned all in by the first film.

After that, a crowded crop of Christmas offerings vying for adults and awards attention duked it out for their place on the top 10 chart. Martin Scorsese's R-rated, sex-laced The Wolf of Wall Street, among the films launching nationwide Dec. 25, was narrowly beat by David O. Russell's holdover American Hustle for the weekend.

American Hustle, likewise rated R, placed No. 4 for the weekend with $19.6 million to cross the $60 million mark domestically for Sony.

Wolf of Wall Street followed at No. 5 with weekend earnings of $18.5 million, putting its five-day debut at a strong $34.3 million. Red Granite fully financed the $100 million-plus film, with Paramount handling marketing and distribution.

Wolf of Wall Street, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Wall Street bad boy Jordan Belfort, barely received an R rating (Scorsese agreed to trim certain sex scenes in order to avoid getting slapped with an NC-17). The big question is whether the movie, expected to do especially well on both coasts, will play in America's heartland (the film's C CinemaScore could be an indication of the split). Boasting a running time of two hours and 59 minutes, Wolf marks Scorsese's longest film by a minute, topping Casino.

20th Century Fox's Christmas Day entry The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, directed by and starring Ben Stiller, was likewise narrowly beat on its first weekend by a holdover, Disney's Saving Mr. Banks.

Starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks was up an astonishing 50 percent in its second weekend of nationwide play, grossing $14 million for a domestic total of $37.8 million and coming in No. 6 (Frozen was up 45 percent). Banks' hold is sure to be a boost for its awards campaign.

Secret Life of Walter Mitty, costing $91 million to make, placed No. 7 with $13 million for a five-day debut of $25.6 million.

Universal's ill-fated 47 Ronin eked out a 9th place finish with $9.9 million for a sobering five-day debut of $20.6 million, far from enough considering the film's $175 million budget. The Keanu Reeves samurai epic was co-financed by Universal and Elliott

Universal has known the film was troubled financially for quite some time and says it has already accounted for a loss. "Universal Pictures regularly evaluates its film slate for potential adjustment. In the case of 47 Ronin, we adjusted film costs in previous quarters and as a result our financial performance will not be negatively impacted this quarter by its theatrical performance," the studio said in a statement.

Warner Bros.' $40 million Grudge Match opened outside the top 10, coming in No. 11 for the weekend with $7.3 million, putting its five-day debut at a troubled $13.4 million.

Bieber's Believe fared even worse, coming in No. 14 with an estimated $2 million. The concert documentary took in just $4.2 million in its five-day debut, a fraction of the $29.5 million opening of his last film, Never Say Never. While Believe is playing in far fewer theaters that Never Say Never (1,037 versus 3,000), but it still vastly underperformed. Open Road Films is distributing and marketing Believe.


Horror takes over as 2014 dawns with the Latino-infused Paranormal Activity film series spin-off  flick "Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones" and the now On Demand Open Grave gets its shot in theaters.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Wolf of Wall Street Review: Rich And Shameless

 In what has now become an annual tradition of going to the movies during the week between Christmas and the dawn of a new year--I, and several 20 something members of my family got together to see Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street".


The film is based on the Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) penned memoir that tells of his days as a hard partying, drug addicted stockbroker who was indicted in 1998 for security fraud and money laundering and served a 22-month federal prison stretch.

"Wolf" marks the fifth big screen collaboration between Scorsese and DiCaprio and the narrative of the movie is structured like 1990's Goodfellas and 1995's Casino where we are dropped right in the middle of the action with the main character soon taking us back to explain how we got here. At various points along the way DiCaprio breaks the fourth wall--looking directly into the camera to explain to the non-biz folks in the audience how something works or some such thing.


DiCaprio gives a dynamic performance as Belfort--owning the role--Fully committing to even the most outrageous material--without apology. I was surprised at just how much humor that Boardwalk Empire creator Terence Winter put into his adapted script. Having never read the book I don't know how much of that came from Belfort's account or was embellished by the filmmakers.

Just as he did in his Academy award nominated turn in Moneyball- Jonah Hill gives an unforgettable performance as Jordan's best friend and business partner Donnie, a furniture salesman who quits his job to join Befort on his wild ride to the top. Former "Pan Am" star Margot Robbie is sensational as Belfort's second wife Nadine. With all of the testosterone infused mayhem going on around her-she holds her own opposite Leo when we are allowed to peek inside the Belfort home and their domestic life.

The supporting cast is top notch here--everyone from Kyle Chandler as the FBI agent who built the case against Belfort and took him down, Jean Dujardin, last year's Best Actor Oscar winner for "The Artist," playing money-laundering Swiss banker Jean-Jacques Handali, to Matthew McConaughey who cameos as an early boss and mentor to Belfort.


Despite all of the things that "Wolf" has going for it, the film is not Marty and Leo's best work-- The Departed is secure in that spot--I felt that the film would have been better served if editor Thelma Schoonmaker found a way to shave off some some 20 more minutes. As it is, the original cut was 4 hours long...Yeah I wanna see what else was cut as a one time filmmaker...that's what the Blu-ray/DVD is for.

Some say the film glorifies bad behavior while others say it indites the 1%ers. I say hogwash to both notions. Those folks are painting with too broad of a brush. I know some stockbrokers all of whom work very hard legally to support their families.  Glorifying bad practices? The last time I checked Befort and his cohorts were caught....I saw no glory at the end of the movie for Belfort.


"Wolf" is Oliver Stone's Wall Street with Roid Rage-not a perfect film--but still wildly entertaining filled with great performances.

First Photo: Fincher's "Gone Girl"

Fox has used its official Twitter account to post the first photo for the currently in-production thriller "Gone Girl"

Based on author Gillian Flynn's novel, Ben Affleck stars as a husband whose wife (one time frontrunner Rosamund Pike) disappears during their fifth anniversary - leaving him the prime suspect for her murder.

Model/actress Emily Ratajkowski, who appeared in singer Robin Thicke's controversial music video Blurred Lines would play Andie, the college-age mistress to Affleck’s Nick. David Clennon (House of Cards") will play Rand Elliot, the father of the woman. He begins to suspect his son-in-law as the investigation into his daughter’s disappearance grows and her absence lingers Tyler Perry co-stars as a slick defense attorney and Carrie Coon is Nick's twin sister. Neil Patrick Harris is Desi Collins

Flynn wrote the first draft of the adapted script, from which David Fincher's going to direct.

Reese Witherspoon Bruna Papandrea and Leslie Dixon will produce the film.

Affleck will go to work as Bruce Wayne/Batman in the Man of Steel Sequel once work is completed on "Gone Girl"


Friday, December 27, 2013

Clash Of The Titans 3 Is In A Holding Pattern

While critics hated the 2010 remake of the 1981's "Clash of the Titans" to go along with its  modest domestic box-office, the global audience made it a hit with a $493 million dollar gross on a $125 million budget. It was enough to green light 2012's sequel "Wrath of the Titans," costing a bit more--$150 million and making considerably less at $305 million.


Producer Basil Iwanyk tells IGN that while Clash of the Titans 3 is still possible, there aren't any plans for it to happen soon:

"In terms of 'Clash of the Titans 3,' it's one of those situations where a movie will float away and then come back when it's supposed to come back. I think it is, 'Okay, what's the new idea? How do you make it fresh?' A lot of movies have come out in that world, including ' Immortals' and ' 300.' So there will be a time and place where someone will come up with a great idea for it and how to make it feel different and fresh from the previous ones. Then we'll hopefully move forward on that."

Thursday, December 26, 2013

MOS 2: Gadot And Carter Talk About Wonder Woman

We know that "Fast Five" star Gal Gadot will play Wonder Woman in Zack Snyder's upcoming Superman/Batman team-up Man of Steel Sequel


Now Gadot has confirmed to Nana10 that she's already begun training for the role. She also pushed  back at criticisms that she's too skinny and not 'busty' enough:

"It's the physical preparations that I'm starting now. A very serious training regime - Kung Fu, kickboxing, swords, jujutsu, Brazilian...1,000 and 1 things...I'll gain body mass. I represent the Wonder Women of the new world. Breasts... anyone can buy for 9,000 shekels and everything is fine. By the way, Wonder Woman is amazonian, and historically accurate amazonian women actually had only one breast. So, if I'd really go 'by the book'...it'd be problematic."

She also recalled the story of how she found out she got the part:

"I was just on my way to shooting at LA. I landed at NY in a connection flight when my agent, Hadass Lichtenstein, called me. She says to me 'Wonder Woman!' and I'm like 'What??' - 'The role is yours!...and it's a secret and the news are not yet announced and you can't tell anyone...'. I'm saying to her 'Are you serious??' - and we both scream!

Now it's a plane from Israel to NY and I can't make loud noise, and so I lean on a window, bending down to my legs, and just try to understand. Long story short - I was totally alone in NY, I got to a hotel at 12 PM, I needed to wake up in the morning for shootings. I remember laying in the darkness by myself, staring at the ceiling, and I was telling myself 'It's not real!' It shouldn't be like that, I'm supposed to be like, 'Where's the champagne? '"

How big Gadot's role as WW is, is unknown at this point. Godot beat out Olga Kurylenko and Elodie Yung for the role. Thor: The Dark World" actress is Jaimie Alexander was also linked.

Some time ago there was noise that the production was seeking is a love interest for the Dark Knight in the film. The Type? A woman in their late 20s of any ethnicity.  Adding that she be tall and "possess physicality".

The notice DID NOT give a name for the character, which led to speculation that it could anyone from Vicki Vale to Wonder Woman. A leaked casting call had fanboys thinking that the Amazon warrior was in the pic.


Meantime former Wonder Woman TV Series star Lynda Carter recently spoke with Metro about Gadot's casting and advises her that she "hopes she has fun with it". She went on to say:

"There's an identification factor. She's not your average superhero. It's not so much about her super powers as it is about her ethic. I always thought of her as a figure who stands for what's right. We all know what's wrong with the world today, so maybe we need her right now."

MOS 2 will see the return of Henry Cavill as Superman/Clark Kent, Ben Affleck will play Bruce Wayne/Batman amid lots of fallout--while Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane are set to reprise their roles as Lois Lane, Perry White and Martha Kent.

A love interest for Bats suggests that he will have a larger part in the film than expected. It also could mean that other characters like Bruce Wayne's butler Alfred Pennyworth might show up as well.

Those reports that suggested that the chatter about former "Breaking Bad" star Bryan Cranston playing Lex Luthor in the upcoming movie were true have now been denied by the actor. The other day we were told that Joaquin Phoenix came up as a contender for Lex. Australian actor Callan Mulvey ("Zero Dark Thirty) was being eyed for the role of the (unnamed) villain in the film. Speculation is that Jason Momoa is up for the bad guy--say perhaps Doomsday or Metallo. Or another notion is that he might play alien hero Martian Manhunter who also happens to like Oreo Cookies.

Singer Justin Bieber uploaded a photo on his Instagram account showing him holding up what appeared to be a personalized script for the film with the hashtag "#Robin" but it turned out to be a prop for a Funny or Die skit.

More rumors ran recently that Girls co-star Adam Driver is the frontrunner to play the character of Dick Grayson, the post-Robin Nightwing incarnation in the film. The original story mentioned that two other actors are in the mix for the role. Less than 24 hours later "Gossip Girl" and "Easy A" star Penn Badgley and "The Perks of Being A Wallflower" and "We Need To Talk About Kevin" star Ezra Miller were said to be in mix for the part. Driver denies any such talk

The speedster The Flash is said to be in the script.

Meantime: The star of The CW's popular Arrow TV series Stephen Amell posted a "Justice League" comic image on his official Facebook page.  We already know that Flash (Grant Gustin) will show up there for a few eps before getting his own show in 2014 Could more of DC Entertainment's "Justice League" be coming to "Arrow"? For now the DC Cinematic Universe will NOT co-exist with the TV heroics...There are rumors about where the films might go as well as the  TV side of things...

These hero introductions would make sense if Warners is ever gonna make a "Justice League" movie.

"Man Of Steel" writer David S. Goyer was back on the keyboard but now--THR reports that  Chris Terrio, who won an Oscar for writing Affleck's “Argo,” has been hired to write the latest draft of the MOS 2 script. 

Goyer is in the midst of developing several projects including an adaptation of author Neil Gaiman's  popular comic book series Sandman, which he’ll produce with Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Christopher Nolan and Charles Roven return to executive produce the multi-hero film.

Sources say the new movie is going for the tone of the relationship and fight seen in Frank Miller’s 1980s ground-breaking mini-series The Dark Knight Returns.

The film will shoot in Detroit and throughout Michigan sometime in the first quarter of 2014. Warner Bros will also shoot the movie in Toronto to meet its release on July 17 2015. Some filming for the film's opening sequence is already in the can.

The Magnificent Seven Redux Loses Cruise; Gains Hancock

The Wrap reports that Tom Cruise is no longer attached to star in the contemporary remake of the John Sturges' 1960 western "The Magnificent Seven".



Cruise became interested in 'Magnificent' early last year, but his busy schedule prevented him from any real commitment on his part.

At the same time, "Saving Mr. Banks" and "The Blind Side" director John Lee Hancock has been tasked to rewrite the film. Nic Pizzolatto ("True Detective") wrote an earlier draft of the script.

Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter and Horst Buchholz starred in 'Magnificent' The original was itself a loose remake Akira Kurosawa's acclaimed 1954 film "Seven Samurai" and followed seven gunfighters-for-hire tasked with protecting a small Mexican village from bandits led by Calvera (Eli Wallach).

Three sequels Return of the Seven (1966) Guns of the Magnificent Seven (1969) The Magnificent Seven Ride! (1972) and a short-lived TV series (1998-2000) followed.

G.I. Joe 3: Chu Walks Back On Tatum Return

Late last week. "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" director Jon M. Chu seemed to suggest that Channing Tatum could return to the series as Duke despite his apparent death in Retaliation


While out doing press for the concert doc Justin Bieber's Believe Chu now tells Coming Soon that the original quote was taken out of context:

It all gets carried away again. They asked me about Channing and I don't know. You never know in these movies, and that's all I said, and suddenly it became ‘Channing Tatum might be back.’ To me, every possibility is open and we're writing the script right now and we're figuring everything out. 

It's an extremely low possibility when you kill somebody like that, it's pretty much it, but you never know with G.I. Joe. We did that with Storm Shadow, too.

I love being active in world-building, so we're working on G.I. Joe 3 right now. We're designing tons of stuff, which takes a little bit, but to me, that's obviously where I like to push myself and where I want to be for a long time and get to know better. I'm excited to bring in new characters and fun things beyond Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis that we're working on and some great villains, but we're forming those ideas now. I'm really excited - it's going to be a whole 'nother level… I think we're going to be shooting next year. We're pretty motivated to get that up.

 Snow White and the Huntsman writer Evan Daugherty is currently working on the G.I. Joe 3 script for Hasbro and Paramount.

Lorenzo di Bonaventura is back to produce the film.

 "Retaliation" made $371 million worldwide. 2009's G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra made $302 million.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Peter Segal Talks "SHAZAM!" Movie

Back in 2008/2009 Peter Segal ("Get Smart") was attached to direct the long in development film adaptation of the DC Comics superhero Captain Marvel/ SHAZAM!

The story follows Billy Batson, a teenager who becomes the superhero known as Captain Marvel when he utters the magic word "Shazam!". In that incarnation, Dwayne Johnson was to play the villain Black Adam



 The project ended up falling apart

Since "Man of Steel" has jump-started the DC Cinematic Universe, there was hope that that the project could come back from the dead. Segal spoke with Coming Soon, saying that the success of "Man of Steel" has had the opposite effect, essentially ensuring that Captain Marvel won't be coming to the big screen anytime in the near future:

"Now that Superman is being invigorated and going up against Batman, I think it's difficult for DC to figure out how to launch this character in the wake of Superman's resurgence. At its core, it's a lot like Superman. There's this boy trapped inside of a superhero's body. He's still a boy inside, so there's this opportunity to play a lot of humor with the action. Originally, Stan Lee brought me Fantastic Four a number of years for that very reason. I always have the question when people bring me superhero properties, 'Why me?'.With Stan, he said, 'It's because there's a sense of humor within all Marvel characters.' These characters are flawed and, within those flaws, there is humor. When [producer] Toby Emmerich came to me with Shazam, it was because of those same reasons. To draw from that humor and to mix it with great action and pathos. I've always loved Shazam, but I don't know if it's going to see the light of day anytime soon."

The Wolf of Wall Street: Schoonmaker Talks Longer Cut

Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street" certainly had an interesting post and pre-release.

The story is based on the Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) penned memoir that tells of his days as a hard partying, drug addicted stockbroker who was indicted in 1998 for security fraud and money laundering and served a 22-month federal prison stretch.

Back in the Fall it was announced that the film would avoid getting the dreaded NC-17 rating after Scorsese and his long time editor Thelma Schoonmaker spent weeks re-cutting the film to get it down to a marketable 2hr 59min theatrical cut now in theaters. The original cut contained a more graphic depiction of sex.


Schoonmaker spoke with HitFix the about the earlier cut and she confirmed that the film ran a full hour longer.

It seems that people loved the four-hour cut, and that became a huge problem since everyone acknowledged it had to be shorter, but it was hard to figure out what should go. They even considered a "Kill Bill"-style two-volume sulution:

"Well, we thought about it. We did. But the film doesn't work split in half. It has to have a certain arc. We did think about it, believe me, because people loved the four-hour version... It would've been horrible if we had it cut out whole scenes."

They didn't cut out scenes so much as trim some of their length:

"We just shaved things down and did three or four screenings and kept going and kept going and finally we got there. And I would never have believed we would have done it. So it was fortunate because it would've been disastrous if we hadn't. I mean you can't distribute a four-hour movie."

Holiday Box Office Preview: Wolf In The Fold

Christmas Day will see a number of high profile releases greet moviegoers.


Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio unleash their latest collaboration The Wolf of Wall Street (reviews lives The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (reviews) Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro stage a Grudge Match (reviews) to settle an old score. fights for honor in 47 Ronin (reviews) Peter Berg brings the powerful non-fiction book by Marcus Luttrell called Lone Survivor (reviews) to the screen in limited release--going wide on January 10.





Pamela McClintock of THR:

If pre-release tracking and advance ticket sales are any indication, the Leonardo DiCaprio-starrer The Wolf of Wall Street should lead the glut of new films hoping to spin the year-end holidays into gold after launching on Dec. 25, when moviegoing surges in the afternoon and remains vibrant until people return to work and school in the new year.

One title facing a formidable challenge is Universal's long-delayed 47 Ronin, which cost at least $175 million to make. The samurai epic, starring Keanu Reeves, appears destined to lose money for its financiers, considering it needs to earn hundreds of millions of dollars globally. The movie, originally set to open in November 2012, is off to a soft start in several key Asian markets, including Japan, and it could have trouble reaching $20 million in its five-day domestic debut.

Although Christmas films don't necessarily need huge openings -- instead, they can enjoy incredible multiples -- that's a dismal number, considering 47 Ronin's price tag. The movie, co-financed by Universal and Elliot, is garnering strong interest from younger males, but box office observers expect it to have a sizeable drop-off after one or two days.

Wolf of Wall Street, already a critical and awards darling, is the latest outing for director Martin Scorsese and cost north of $100 million to make (fully financed by Red Granite Pictures). The movie is based on the memoir by Wall Street bad-boy Jordan Belfort (DiCaprio), notorious for his sexual escapades and drug use.

Paramount is releasing and marketing Wolf of Wall Street, which barely received an R rating (Scorsese agreed to trim certain sex scenes in order to avoid getting slapped with an NC-17). The big question is whether the movie, expected to do especially well on both coasts, will play in America's heartland. Sporting a running time of two hours and fifty-nine minutes, Wolf marks Scorsese's longest film by a minute after Casino.

Wolf of Wall Street is expected to earn at least $30 million between Wednesday and Sunday, putting it on course to earn upward of $100 million domestically and ahead of the openings of 47 Ronin and the four other films likewise opening Christmas Day: Ben Stiller's The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, the Sylvestor Stallone-Robert De Niro comedy Grudge Match, Justin Bieber's concert doc Believe and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. Starring Idris Elba as the iconic civil-rights leader, the biopic opened earlier this month in New York and Los Angeles on the eve of Nelson Mandela's death.

That's not to mention a strong crop of holdovers also competing for holiday moviegoers, led by The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Frozen, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, American Hustle and Saving Mr. Banks.

Desolation of Smaug is likely to lead the Wednesday-Sunday box office overall, while Wolf of Wall Street is likely to compete with Frozen and Anchorman 2 for the next spots on the box office chart. By Sunday, Anchorman 2, also a Paramount title, is expected to have eclipsed the $85.8 million earned in total domestically by Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy (Anchorman 2 should ultimately get to $125 million).

Mitty, from 20th Century Fox and costing $91 million to make, Warner Bros.' $40 million Grudge Match and Ronin could end up in a close race and gross in the $17 million to $20 million range for the five-day stretch.

Directed by and starring Stiller, Mitty hopes to attract families because of its friendly PG rating, and also stars Kristen Wiig and Sean Penn. Warner insiders are likewise hopeful that Grudge Match will play across the generations and pull ahead of the pack.

Despite Bieber's ardent fan base, Believe could prove a disappointment. The concert biopic, costing at least $5 million to make, may only earn $10 million in its debut (his first concert film debuted to nearly $30 million). Open Road Films is launching the film in just over 1,000 theaters, and kept its marketing spend to a modest $5 million.

Mandela will likewise only be playing in roughly 1,000 theaters and is among numerous award contenders looking to boost their campaigns with a prominent Christmas run, but this means fierce competition for adult moviegoers.

Some contenders are opting to open in limited runs over the holidays, versus rolling out nationwide. They include Pete Berg's Lone Survivor and Ralph Fiennes' The Invisible Woman, both of which open in New York and Los Angeles on Christmas Day. On Friday, John Wells' August: Osage County launches in select cities.


Plans are in motion to see "Wolf" with members of my Movie Posse on Friday....My Review will soon follow

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Fox & Donovan Say "Welcome to Harmony"

Matthew Fox ("Lost") and Jeffrey Donovan ("Burn Notice") are in talks to star in the post-apocalyptic horror movie "Welcome to Harmony" says The Wrap.



The story follows two men and a young girl living in a remote village. The trio remain untouched by a worldwide infection that turns survivors into beasts.

Donovan will play the young girl’s father. Fox plays the other lead.

Miguel Ángel Vivas (Kidnapped) makes his English-language directing debut on the film using his script

Jaume Collet-Serra and Juan Sola are producing the film;

Production begins in February in Eastern Europe.

TLR Examines Chris Esper's "Still Life"

I recently took time to check out Chris Esper's short film Still Life. The little gem asks some interesting questions about creativity and criticism. Anyone who has made a film, written a story, composed a piece music etc.will identify with this movie's themes.


Using a quote by Ira Glass as its starting point, the pic follows Martin () a photography student who wrestles with his thoughts about his creativity and talent. 

Some of Martin's photos are featured in a showcase, At the event he gets some positive reaction from a few audience members. Then, Elaine (), a professional photographer, offers her opinion that stuns Martin. The showcase ends and Martin leaves questioning his skill set and his career path.

As some of my regular readers may recall--Some 14 years ago me and my buddy Matt made a 30 minute film called "Crossroads" If I had a nickle for the number of times that I felt like Martin during the process of making it I would be able to pay for a couple of Hollywood blockbusters...

Esper's use of black and white/color photography helps to illustrate Martin's internal struggle with great results. Bonavita does a good job conveying everything the character goes through in 12 short minutes.

The main message of "Still Life" is a positive one for anyone working on anything creative. As a "Glass half full" kinda guy I like that.

My one quibble with the film--during some crucial dialogue towards the end-the music by Ryan Campos almost played over it....

Still Life recently acquired worldwide distribution through TwistFlix and is now available to stream or download for a small price. It's worth a look folks.

Be sure to check out the film's Facebook page as well.

Within the next couple of weeks  I will be chatting with Chris about Still Life and his career. Watch for that post soon!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Pompeii Poster #1: Lava Is Pretty...

The one sheet teaser poster for the Titanic-style epic "Pompeii" has dropped...

The story is set around Pompeii in 79 A.D. and follows Milo ("Game of Thrones" star Kit Harington), a slave whose plans to marry the daughter (Emily Browning) of his shipping tycoon master are dashed when he is sold to another owner in Naples. When Mount Vesuvius erupts, he flees back to Pompeii to rescue his lover and his best friend, a gladiator trapped in the coliseum.

Milo must also deal with a corrupt Roman general (Kiefer Sutherland) whom Flavia was forced to marry by her father (Jared Harris).

Paz Vega plays Strigana, the dark and mysterious high priestess of ancient Pompeii. Jessica Lucas will play a personal slave and friend to Browning's Flavia Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje will play an enslaved gladiator and friend to Milo. Carrie-Anne Moss and Joe Pingue also star.

Janet Scott Batchler and Lee Batchler wrote the original screenplay-then Downton Abbey
creator Julian Fellowes wrote the most recent script revision.

Paul W.S. Anderson directs and co-produces with Jeremy Bolt, Robert Kulzer Don Carmody and Martin Moszkowicz.

"Pompeii" is set to open February 21st 2014.

The Avengers: Age of Ultron: Is There A 2nd Bad Guy?

A new casting breakdown is rumored to be making the rounds for a key supporting role in "The Avengers: Age of Ultron" for writer/director Joss Whedon.


Latino Review reports that the part is that of a physically imposing Caucasian man in his 40s--who would play Baron von Strucker.

In the comics, the seemingly immortal Strucker is one of the leaders of Hydra, and an enemy of both S.H.I.E.L.D and The Avengers.

POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD

A post on HitFix claims that Von Strucker will have Wanda Maximoff, a.k.a. Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and her twin brother Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) apparently working for him. They also claim that Marton Csokas and Dougray Scott are being considered for the role. ( American Horror Story favorite Evan Peters plays a different incarnation of Quicksilver in Bryan Singer's "X-Men: Days of Future Past"--now in post-production--that film hits screens May 23rd 2014.)

While the sequel DOES NOT follow the Age of Ultron comics storyline--in which the big bad Ultron was created by Hank Pym who becomes Ant-Man. James Spader will both voice Ultron, and he'll have to do some kind of motion-capture as well--This news puts to rest the most popular theory suggesting that Tony Stark's (Robert Downey Jr,) robot butler J.A.R.V.I.S. (voiced by Paul Bettany) operating system from the Iron Man Films would turn into the villain.

Marvel vets RDJ, Chris Evans Chris Hemsworth Scarlett Johansson Samuel L. Jackson Jeremy Renner Mark Ruffalo, Clark Gregg and Cobie Smulders are all expected back Two time Iron Man co-star Don Cheadle is involved this time out according to USA Today

Production on the 'Avengers' sequel is slated to begin in March to meet a release date of May 1, 2015

The Amityville Horror: All Is Not Lost For That Reboot

Back in May 2011 plans were announced for The Amityville Horror: The Lost Tapes a found footage style reboot of film series from producer Jason Blum ("Paranormal Activity," "Insidious").


Blum recently told Crave Online, that the film is "still going" and they're definitely going to make it, but they "don't quite know yet when."

The tale was based on a true story--later an admitted hoax--about a family moving into their apparent Long Island dream house, only to discover a murder took place in the house several years back and now the place is now haunted.

First put on film in 1979--starring James Brolin and Margot Kidder-- directed by Stuart Rosenberg that classic film spawned several horrid sequels

Then the story was remade in 2005-- sure the film grossed over $100 million at the box office worldwide but it was almost universally panned and is now more famous for showing off a very buffed up Ryan Reynolds than scaring anyone.

MOS 2: Wonder Woman & Bat-fleck

Producer Wesley Coller spoke with M Live about Zack Snyder's upcoming Superman/Batman team-up Man of Steel Sequel. They asked him if there are plans for an eventual solo film with "Fast Five" star Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman after MOS 2 hits

"We're super excited to have her in the film, it will be a ton of fun, but at the same time, we've got to stay focused on the film we're working on now."



How big Gadot's role as WW is, is unknown at this point. Godot beat out Olga Kurylenko and Elodie Yung for the role. Thor: The Dark World" actress is Jaimie Alexander was also linked.

Some time ago there was noise that the production was seeking is a love interest for the Dark Knight in the film. The Type? A woman in their late 20s of any ethnicity.  Adding that she be tall and "possess physicality".

The notice DID NOT give a name for the character, which led to speculation that it was anyone from Vicki Vale to Wonder Woman. A leaked casting call had fanboys thinking that the Amazon warrior was in the pic.

A love interest for Bats suggests that he will have a larger part in the film than expected. It also could mean that other characters like Bruce Wayne's butler Alfred Pennyworth might show up as well.

MOS 2 will see the return of Henry Cavill as Superman/Clark Kent, Ben Affleck will play Bruce Wayne/Batman amid lots of fallout--while Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane are set to reprise their roles as Lois Lane, Perry White and Martha Kent.

Coller had this to say about the reaction to Affleck as Bats casting:

"I've developed a pretty good perspective on this. Anything you do that's culturally significant, or any time you deal with an iconic character or story, you're going to hear responses from every possible perspective. So nothing surprises me anymore. If anything, that gauges the relevance of a property or character, and it's invigorating to know people care that much. It inspires you to make the coolest version of the movie that you can. Ben is the perfect fit for Zack's vision for this story."

Those reports that suggested that the chatter about former "Breaking Bad" star Bryan Cranston playing Lex Luthor in the upcoming movie were true have now been denied by the actor. The other day we were told that Joaquin Phoenix came up as a contender for Lex. Australian actor Callan Mulvey ("Zero Dark Thirty) was being eyed for the role of the (unnamed) villain in the film. Speculation is that Jason Momoa is up for the bad guy--say perhaps Doomsday or Metallo. Or another notion is that he might play alien hero Martian Manhunter who also happens to like Oreo Cookies.

Singer Justin Bieber uploaded a photo on his Instagram account showing him holding up what appeared to be a personalized script for the film with the hashtag "#Robin" but it turned out to be a prop for a Funny or Die skit.

More rumors ran recently that Girls co-star Adam Driver is the frontrunner to play the character of Dick Grayson, the post-Robin Nightwing incarnation in the film. The original story mentioned that two other actors are in the mix for the role. Less than 24 hours later "Gossip Girl" and "Easy A" star Penn Badgley and "The Perks of Being A Wallflower" and "We Need To Talk About Kevin" star Ezra Miller were said to be in mix for the part. Driver denies any such talk

The speedster The Flash is said to be in the script.

Meantime: The star of The CW's popular Arrow TV series Stephen Amell posted a "Justice League" comic image on his official Facebook page.  We already know that Flash (Grant Gustin) will show up there for a few eps before getting his own show in 2014 Could more of DC Entertainment's "Justice League" be coming to "Arrow"? For now the DC Cinematic Universe will NOT co-exist with the TV heroics...There are rumors about where the films might go as well as the  TV side of things...

These hero introductions would make sense if Warners is ever gonna make a "Justice League" movie.

"Man Of Steel" writer David S. Goyer was back on the keyboard but now--THR reports that  Chris Terrio, who won an Oscar for writing Affleck's “Argo,” has been hired to write the latest draft of the MOS 2 script. 

Goyer is in the midst of developing several projects including an adaptation of author Neil Gaiman's  popular comic book series Sandman, which he’ll produce with Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Christopher Nolan and Charles Roven return to executive produce the multi-hero film.

Sources say the new movie is going for the tone of the relationship and fight seen in Frank Miller’s 1980s ground-breaking mini-series The Dark Knight Returns.

The film will shoot in Detroit and throughout Michigan sometime in the first quarter of 2014. Warner Bros will also shoot the movie in Toronto to meet its release on July 17 2015. Some filming for the film's opening sequence is already in the can.